Most of the time, people are excited enough just from visiting a famous landmark, like the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, or the Colosseum in Rome. Did you know, though, that many of these popular attractions around the world have been home to secret tunnels, rooms, and other little surprises you’ve probably never heard of after all this time?
It’s true, and if these hidden spots across the world don’t excite the travel bug within you, we don’t know what will. Here’s where they’re hidden.
The Eiffel Tower – Paris
Seeing the Eiffel Tower is pretty breathtaking on its own, and going up to the top is an even more incredible experience. Have you ever imagined what it’d be like to live inside of it? You might be wondering how that’d ever happen, seeing as it’s just a tower, but it’s also a tower that just happens to have a secret apartment hidden in the top of it. Check out the video below to find out more about the Paris monument’s creator:
The Lincoln Memorial – Washington, D.C.
Even for those who have been to the Lincoln Memorial, it’d be hard to spot the inconspicuous door on the side of it. Behind that door is a staircase—actually, there’ll be a few of them—that leads down into a giant hall that has the feel of an actual cave.
There are even actual stalactites down there. The natural wonders of this man-made cavern end kind of abruptly after you see some of the, ahem…R-rated graffiti that’s down there.
What’s even weirder is that the National Park Service refers to it as “historical graffiti” because, as the story goes, workers who built the monument in the 1900s decided to practice their artistry when they had breaks on the job.
Trafalgar Square – London
Trafalgar Square is no stranger to protests, marches, riots, and looting—it was the site of the famous riots known as Black Monday and Bloody Sunday. When you think about it, it’s understandable that they’d want to have a police force nearby due to everything that’s happened in the square before. You just wouldn’t think it’d be as small as it is.
Though you’d miss it if you weren’t really looking for it, Trafalgar Square is home to the city’s tiniest police station, which looks more like the TARDIS from Doctor Who than an actual police station. It’s called the Lilliputian Police Station and it was built in the 1930s so law enforcement could keep an eye on the square. It’s now a storage space for the Westminster Council Cleaners.
The “station” sits at the base of a street lamp and is so small that only one person can fit inside. Lilliputian, indeed.
The Washington Monument – Washington, D.C.
As of 2016, the Washington Monument closed indefinitely so that its elevator could be repaired. It’s an unfortunate roadblock for anyone who hoped to visit the monument anytime soon—good thing there’s a mini version of it nearby, though.
The 12-foot-tall replica sits under a manhole cover, and is known as “Benchmark A.” It’s a Geodetic Control Point, meaning that it’s used to help synchronize maps and monitor the landmass of the country.
When it was placed sometime in the 1880s, it was actually above ground but, since Earth’s surface has shifted over time, it was eventually buried and is currently settling into the ground an additional 0.5 millimeters each year.
The Colosseum – Rome
The Colosseum is one of Rome’s most popular attractions, with over 4 million visitors each and every year. What many of them have never walked, however, are the tunnels that sit underneath the monument. Though you can see them when you enter the interior of the amphitheater, very few individuals throughout history have been allowed to walk amongst these tunnels—until now anyway.
Also called the hypogeum, this maze of tunnels was once used as a sort of preparation area for anyone or anything that was about to enter the arena, whether it be animals or gladiators who were about to compete.
The Colosseum itself was commissioned by the Roman emperor Vespasian, though it was not completed until 80 A.D. when his son Titus had taken over. Titus’ younger brother Domitian, a notably cruel ruler, was the one who added these lower chambers into the Colosseum, where he staged many different brutal events of his own creation.
It wasn’t until 2010 that tourists were able to enter these chambers and get an entirely different perspective of what it was like to not only be in the Colosseum, but to know you might die there.
The Statue of Liberty – New York City
You might not have known that you can travel up into Lady Liberty’s crown, but did you also know you can visit her torch, as well? At least, you could have, if an act of war during 1916 hadn’t messed things up for everyone.
On July 30, 1916, during World War I, an explosion went off on a pier between Jersey City and Black Tom Island. It was so large that the entirety of Ellis Island had to be evacuated, and buildings had their windows blown out all the way down in Times Square. It was later discovered that German spies had set off the blast, which badly damaged the Statue of Liberty’s arm and torch, which weren’t fully repaired until around 1984.
Unfortunately, visitors have not been allowed to visit the torch since the incident, though the original torch can be seen in the lobby of the monument.
Disneyland – Anaheim, California
While Disneyland isn’t exactly a monument, it is an attraction that brings people in from all over the world every year. Anyone who’s been there before has probably thought to themselves that they never believed food or souvenirs could be so expensive, but they haven’t seen anything until they’ve seen Club 33—which they probably never will because membership costs a whopping $25,000. Oh, and that’s excluding the $12,000 annual membership fee added as the cherry on top.
Club 33 was originally designed to be a spot where Walt Disney could entertain his most special guests, though he sadly passed away before it opened. However, it’s still the VIP spot he intended it to be, though the plain door that leads into it doesn’t suggest it’s anything special. Once inside, you’ll be treated to either a five- or six-course meal—although you’re really treating yourself because you’ll still have to pay for that on top of these thousands of dollars it takes to make it in the club. What is so great about Club 33 anyway? Find out for yourself, Inside the Magic gives an exclusive look of what’s inside.
You also might as well burn your park clothes before you go in, too, because there’s a dress code and your sweaty Crocs won’t fly. You wouldn’t want to wear them in there anyway, because you could run into celebrities like Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Vanessa Hudgens. Hudgens actually shared photos from her visit, one of which captured the toilet in Club 33, which she described as being straight out of Cinderella’s castle.